Rayne stumbled behind me as we walked up my driveway, staring up at the eery glower of my house. I held onto his hand tightly as I stood in front of the unwelcoming front door. After pondering over whether I should knock or invite myself in, I decided on the latter and twisted the doorknob to gain access into the house.
Silence. I couldn't hear a single sound.
Rayne and I ventured into the house and looked around to see if we could find anyone. I called out once and still didn't hear a reply so I tried another time. Eventually, my mother appeared at the top of the stairs with the biggest look of surprise on her face.
'Brendan!' she exclaimed.
She ran down the stairs and took me into her arms tightly. I let the tears fall from my eyes as I wrapped my mother in a warm embrace, mumbling my apologies for not doing this earlier. Mum kept patting me on my back, telling me she loved me.
'Rayne,' she mumbled through her tears. She took Rayne in a matching warm hug and planted a kiss on his cheek.
'How are you? Is everything okay? Why do you have a black eye?'
'I'll explain later,' I waved her off.
Moments later, Dad appeared at the top of the stairs looking down at me with an undecipherable look on his face. I immediately reached over and grabbed Rayne's hand as I stared up at my father, daring him to make the first move.
Slowly, Dad walked down the stairs and in a swift movement, took me in his arms and held me tightly against him. More tears began to flow out of my eyes as I let go of Rayne's hand and wrapped my arms around his broad shoulders. Dad repeated my method and mumbled his apologies through his tears while I mimicked him, apologising for physically assaulting him.
'I deserved it,' he whispered, 'I'm so sorry, son. I love you.'
After we had finished hugging, Dad turned to Rayne who was standing silently against the wall. After a brief hesitation, Dad extended his hand out for Rayne who accepted it and shook it gratefully. Dad soon pulled him closer and wrapped Rayne in a one arm hug, also whispering an apology in his ear.
After all our greetings had been done, Rayne and Mum went into the kitchen to make some coffees while Dad and I took a seat in the lounge room to talk.
'I spoke to Greg,' Dad began the conversation, 'he told me how you drove all the way to speak to him. I'm glad you felt you could do that but it should've been me you came to speak to. It's all my fault, son, I'm so sorry.'
'No, don't worry about it, Dad. It's okay. I understand.'
'Greg and I talked for a very long time about this and he made me come around, telling me that I should only want you to be happy, regardless of whether it's a woman or a man. He also told me that you told him that you loved Rayne. Is that true?'
'With all my heart,' I replied.
Dad smiled and patted me on the back.
'I know I don't completely understand all this, but I will try my best to,' he said, 'I may not entertain the idea of you getting married to another man just yet but I will come around eventually the more I understand.'
'Thank you, Dad.'
We briefly smiled at each other before Rayne and Mum walked in holding two mugs of coffee each. Rayne handed me one while Dad retrieved the other from Mum and they both sat down next to their respective partners.
'Now, tell me why both of you are bruised and battered,' demanded Mum.
Rayne sat there quietly while I told them about what happened at school today. Mum literally spat out her coffee back into her mug while Dad looked like he was going to run someone over.
'They can't do this! I'm going to have a word with your principal!' Mum stormed out of the room melodramatically.
'I'm so new to this,' mumbled Dad.
'It's okay, we'll take care of it,' I said with a lighthearted chuckle.
Rayne and I laughed as we heard Mum screaming about homophobia over the phone. She soon reappeared in the room angrily tossing the phone onto the chair next to her.
'He's agreed to lighten your punishment on the basis that you attend a mediation session. That is fucking bullshit, you shouldn't even need to attend some stupid fucking mediation session when you're the victim of homophobic bullying!' My mother never swore so I could tell how upset she was over this.
'Mum, it's okay, calm down. We'll take care of this,' I reassured her.
I took Rayne home after we had finished clearing the air with my parents and I decided to go back home to sleep in my own bed for the first time in a while. As Rayne got out of the car after kissing me, I said my traditional nightly quote.
'Will you still love me in the morning?'
'Until the moon stops shining, my love.'
The next morning after getting changed into my own school uniform, I gathered my things and sped over to Rayne's house to pick up my boyfriend. Rayne skipped down to the car, quickly kissed me and we drove to school, anticipating the mediation session planned for us today.
We were required to go straight to the principal's office so Rayne and I held hands as we walked through the crowded school and straight to the office where Jayden, Brett and Dwight were already waiting.
'Great, we're all here. Follow me, gents.'
We followed Mr. Gray through into a conference room. Rayne and I took one side of the table while Jayden, Brett and Dwight took the other and Mr. Gray stood at the end.
'I think we all know why we are here today,' he began, 'what happened yesterday was completely out of line and we all need to discuss why this happened.'
'I'm pretty sure you know why this happened sir,' I explained, 'these three have complained about me being the captain of the rugby team just because I'm gay and I got demoted because of that and that set me off. Sure, I should have approached it in a different way but this shouldn't be this way in the first place.'
'We don't feel comfortable with having a fag as on our team,' said Jayden.
'Language,' interjected Mr. Gray.
'What? Just because I'm gay you think I'm going to check out every man with a pulse? No. Being homosexual doesn't mean I'm attracted to every man. Just because you're straight, does that mean you're attracted to every single woman? No,' I stated.
Jayden shut his mouth after he was about to fire back with a reply.
'I agree, Brendan, you should have approached it differently,' said Mr. Gray, 'but that is a terrible excuse for demoting a sports captain, especially because we have the grand final coming up so soon.'
'What happened, you three?' I said, directing my comments to all three of them, 'we used to be the greatest friends. I may be gay but I'm still a man, nothing has changed. I still love my rugby and I still love my sports, I just happen to love Rayne as well.'
None of them could muster up a reply so I continued.
'Brett and Dwight, you both have long-term relationships. You know how it feels to be in love. If everyone hated you just because they didn't like the girl you were with, wouldn't you feel terrible? Everyone has turned against me just because of Rayne and I don't think it's fair. Put yourselves in my shoes. I know you wouldn't like it.'
Brett and Dwight lowered their heads and didn't mutter a single word so I turned my attention to Jayden.
'Jayden, you used to encourage me to tackle a full on relationship for the first time and I eventually did. And what, just because it's with another boy, you're completely against the idea? What happened bro?'
Jayden sunk his head as well.
'Brendan being gay doesn't affect your ability to breathe or your basic human rights so you shouldn't have a problem with it,' Rayne said ever so calmly next to me, 'we don't care if you accept us but you have to accept us as human beings. Just because I'm gay, doesn't mean I should be deprived of basic needs. I am human and I need to be loved.'
As soon as Rayne had said that, the three boys' heads jerked up and they stared at him in awe. Rayne smiled at them before uttering the five words that completely blew them away.
'It's okay. I forgive you.'
Even Mr. Gray and I stared at Rayne in shock as he got up out of his seat, walked over to them and offered his hand out for them to accept. I looked at them, and they looked at Rayne's hand hovering next to them. One by one, Jayden, Brett and Dwight accepted Rayne's handshake and shook it eagerly. Jayden even got up out of his seat and gave Rayne a one-armed hug.
'I'm so sorry,' mumbled Jayden.
'Same,' repeated Brett and Dwight.
The three of them turned their attention to me and slowly we all got up out of our chairs and we all got into a group hug including Rayne.
'We're boys for life,' I said.
'Boys for life,' said Jayden.
I shook each of their hands and we sat back down in our chairs with big smiles on our faces much to the shock of Mr. Gray.
'Well, that went swell,' he mumbled. 'I'm afraid you all still have to do a week of detention but this is good.'
We left the conference room soon after that and we followed the boys back to rugby team's table I used to run. Rayne and I sat down with them surprising the rest of the team who began shooting Jayden troubled looks.
'They're cool,' announced Brett.
'Fruity, but cool,' Jayden said, winking at me.
Meanwhile, Dwight had disappeared to tell Coach Kidman that I was to be made captain once again. Rayne sat shyly next to me while the boys entertained me with humorous questions such as "Who's the man in the relationship?" and "Who pays for dinner when you go out on dates?"
'It's good to have you back, bro,' said Jayden.
'It's good to be back,' I said with a grin.
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: I appreciate all my readers and all the comments you leave so I've decided to reqard you (in a sense). If you've read all my stories and have wondered what the characters are supposed to look like, I have based the appearance of 90% of my characters on real life people, from Duke Erving from the In Love With a Celebrity series to Troy from the one-off Get Sexy short story. If you are curious as to who these people are, send me an e-mail and I will reply with the names and pictures of those people just to help you imagine my stories. Thank you and enjoy)